A/N: This was inspired by my realisation that I cannot stand odd socks. And I'm only a bit OCD. Imagine how Ianto would react to them!
For Aearlor, my new C2 staff member, and for Dark Knight Harkness, because she put up with me constantly talking about my plans for this fic.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and I never wear odd socks!
Odd socks. Ianto hated odd socks. They lacked symmetry and were chaos in his perfectly ordered world.
Gwen wore odd socks every now and again but it was sort of okay when she did it. They were always the same design but in slightly different shades of the same colour. That, Ianto could live with. Because they matched, in their own special way.
But Jack, oh so annoying Jack, often wore socks that didn't match all. He'd wear striped with plain. Pink with blue. Spots with squares. Ianto could even recall a time with hearts and skulls. And it drove him up the wall.
There had also been that terrible occasion when he was six. His mum had dressed him for school, shoved a lunch box in his hand and together they're hurried across Cardiff to the little Primary school that Ianto went to. It was about ten minutes after Mr Lloyd had called the register that Ianto realised. Ianto was alphabetising the books in the bookshelf when he'd noticed that his lace was undone. Just like his mum had taught him, he bent down to do it up.
Of course the significance of the orange sock did not strike him until about two minutes after that when he had to do his other lace up. The sock on his left foot was lime green! Ianto thought that he must be mistaken and decided to check his other foot again. That was when he started crying.
The teacher had been quite surprised when a child that he had never seen upset, suddenly started bawling his eyes out. When he tried to find out what was wrong with Ianto, all he got was a gesture at his feet and more tears.
After about five minutes Mr Lloyd and about half of the class (the girl half) had managed to calm Ianto down enough to figure out what was wrong. The odd socks were instantly removed and swapped with his sister Elena's matching batman socks. After the school had called Ianto's mum to warn her about the incident, she was always very careful about the socks she put him in.
Anyway… Ianto had always been funny about socks having to match. And the number or times Ianto had complained at Jack about his socks, he had to know how much it affected the Welshman. He had to be doing it on purpose.
Ianto was just settling down in bed after a hard day chasing weevils when there was a small tap on his front door. At least, he thought as he went to answer the door, it's not work. They'd call. He checked that he could just about be classed as basically descent and flung open the door. Or not.
Jack stood in the doorway, a sheepish grin on his face.
"Hey, Yan," he said, then raised his eyebrows suggestively "nice top."
Ianto blushed slightly feeling embarrassed and unconsciously fingered the hem of the baggy t-short that he wore for bed. It wasn't the fact that the top didn't even reach his knees and he wasn't wearing anything but boxers with it, which embarrassed him. No it was more the fact that it said in bright pink letters 'I'm not gay. My boyfriend is'.
"Hello, Sir. Any particular reason you're here at," he checked his watch "ten past eleven?"
"Yeah… err, look, I can't go on without asking. The top? You got a boyfriend? I mean, I'm not interrupting anything am I?"
"No, I haven't got a boyfriend and no, you're not interrupting anything. It's an old top. I just wear it for bed normally," Ianto stood back and gestured for Jack to enter.
"Thanks," Jack said, walking past him and towards the kitchen "any chance of a cuppa?"
"Of course," Ianto said, sticking his head out of the flat's door and scanning round to check that nobody had seen Jack enter. The neighbours were very gossipy "you know where the tap is. And the kettle."
Jack harrumphed in reply and began filling the kettle. Resisting the urge to raise his eyebrows, Ianto gently shut the front door and followed Jack into the kitchen.
"Ianto? Where are your tea bags? I can't find them."
"Above the microwave. Silver pot with T on the side. No, Sir, that says S. That's the Sugar."
"So it is," Jack said, opening the tin and peering inside.
"Sir, if you're planning on staying, do you mind if I pot some more clothes on? I feel a little underdressed."
"Yes," Jack explained "I do mind."
Ianto flushed a deep red and ran a hand exasperatedly through his hair which was still fluffy from his recent shower and stuck up all over the place at his actions. Jack thought it made him look rather cute. Well, ever cuter than normal. Without another word Ianto backed out of the room, leaving Jack to tend to the kettle and make the tea. When he reappeared a few moments later he was wearing a pair of grey jogging bottoms and his hair had been smoothed down so it vaguely resembled his normal immaculate style.
They waited for the tea to brew, an uncomfortable silence settling between them, Ianto leant against the door frame, feigning nonchalance, Jack sat at the small kitchen table, tapping out a steady beat with the four fingers on his left hand.
As soon as the teas were made, Ianto led the way into the lounge, tucking himself up in a leather armchair, internally smiling at the way Jack nervously perched himself on the edge of the sofa.
"Right, Sir, would you care to explain why exactly you're here?"
"Okay, gods, this is embarrassing. I don't know what to say."
"That's new," Ianto said, smiling at him over his teacup "Jack Harkness lost for words."
Jack scowled at him for a moment before breaking into a smile.
"You are one of a kind, Ianto Jones," Jack grinned "maybe that's why I love you."
Ianto chocked on the sip of tea that he had just taken.
"I love you," Jack seemed to have got over his initial nervousness and was now settled back in the sofa, looking quite comfortable.
"I… I don't know what to say…"
"Good," Jack said, sipping his tea then pulling a face "needs more sugar."
Jack stood and disappeared into the kitchen leaving Ianto sat feeling completely confused, his tea forgotten in one hand. Jack returned after a few moments, tentatively tasting the tea and then grinning.
"Perfect. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, I love you."
"We were past that bit," Ianto said "we were on me being lost for words an you being glad about it."
"Of course. Trust you to remember."
"Why is it good?"
"Because if you didn't love me back, you would have been very polite and told me straight away. That's the sort of guy you are. Instead you got all flustered and embarrassed because you feel the same but you're not sure I mean it and you're scared to believe that I do."
Ianto stared at him, impressed.
"You know me way too well."
"Yes, I do. The only thing I don't know is what you're going to do next."
Ianto considered for a moment before gentling placing his tea to one side and standing up. He beckoned for Jack to stand too. He did, turning away to place his tea on a coaster as he knew Ianto would want. When he turned back Ianto was stood right in front of him. An arm snaked out and wrapped around his waist, bringing him close to the Welshman's chest.
"I love you too," Ianto said, leaning forward and kissing him.
The kiss was gentle and soft and completely Ianto. Jack melted into it, wrapping his arms round Ianto's neck, giving over control to the younger man. The kiss quickly became more passionate and Ianto took hold of Jack's braces, leading him towards the bedroom.
Next morning, Ianto woke up to the comfortable feeling of an arm round his waist and a warm body pressed up against his back. He turned himself round to look at Jack's sleeping face to find that he had pulled the covers over his head in his sleep. Chuckling lightly, Ianto instead looked down at their entangled legs. His own bare feet were snuggled between Jack's socked ones. One was red and one was forest green. Like a horrid Christmassy clash. Ianto braced himself for the usual shudder of horror but it never came. He chanced another look at the odd socks.
They looked rather sweet, he thought, gently poking Jack's foot with own and smiling when Jack poked back even though he was still asleep.
Slipping out of Jack's grasp and out of the bed, Ianto padded across to his chest of draws and began searching. A few minutes later he returned to bed, settling Jack's arm back across his waist, wrapping their legs back together and stroking a hand in Jack's hair.
After a few moments he dared to look back down at their feet. Two green socks and two red socks beamed their bright colours back at him.
Really, Ianto decided as Jack nuzzled his face into the crook of Ianto's neck, wearing odd socks wasn't that bad. As long as he matched with Jack.
A/N: Ta da! My longest one-shot ever. I think. Maybe 'The Course...' is longer but I like this one better so who cares? I'm rather proud of this one. I hope you liked it. Care to share your opinions in a review?